The Helpful Robot

In this flexible sculpture class, students are asked to invent a robot that would could help them, their peers and the teacher in the classroom. The lesson includes a presentation and demonstration time for students to explain the elements of their work.


This activity was conducted in studioFive at MGSE as part of our Master of Teaching course.


  • Function and purpose
  • Practicality
  • Problem solving

Skills and Techniques

  • Assemblage
  • Construction
  • Found objects
  • Presentation and performance


  • Assorted sculpture components
  • Found objects
  • Recycled objects
  • Adhesives
  • Drawing tools
  • Cutting tools
  • Wire


Students are asked to invent a robot that could help them day to day in the classroom. They are given half an hour to build a prototype of the assistant using the materials in the classroom.

Assist students in sourcing materials and assembling their creations.

Give students two minutes each to present their robots to the class. Ask students to explain the problem that their robot addresses and how the design helps to overcome this issue.

Art Connections

This activity introduces students to assembled sculpture, allowing them to focus upon building a functional, but fictitious, assistant. It encourages freedom in construction and expression within the classroom and provides an opportunity for students to present their work to their peers.

VCD Connections

This quick prototype session is extremely useful within the VCD classroom. It familiarises students with the resources that are available to them and invites them to experiment with them without risk.

Related Artists

Lauren Lee McCarthy

Next Steps

Following lessons can extend these concepts by:

  • Students can create 30 second animations or video recordings that introduce and “sell” the assistant.
  • Students can develop a logo, brand and collateral around their new robot.